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How to Become a Tax Accountant

Career News August 27, 2013

Few people enjoy the formal paperwork involved with paying their taxes. An increasingly more complex system, with tax breaks and initiatives creating a necessity for a guiding hand, has kept tax accountants in demand by individuals, companies and organizations.

Educational Aims for Tax Accountancy

Although an associate’s degree with some course work in bookkeeping is accepted for seasonal work, or gaining an internship with a firm, becoming a full-time, qualified tax accountant involves earning your CPA. You will need four years of study and the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting to receive the credentials for your CPA. The comprehensive examination is divided into four sections, some states allow up to eighteen months to complete them. Most students fail to pass one or more of the four sections, but fortunately, the test can be taken multiple times.

Classes tax accountant students need to take include auditing, tax accounting, business law, finance, financial and cost accounting. Most states require more than the number of credits needed to complete a bachelor’s degree in order to pass their CPA exam, it’s highly recommended that students complete their master’s degree.

The Certified Public Accountant examination determines the degree of knowledge and skills you have in the field of accounting. It will measure your understanding of business law and its relation to taxes. It will access your business writing skills. It will test your abilities to use authoritative database software and electronic applications, such as spreadsheets and word processing.

How CPAs Chart a Course towards Tax Accountancy

With a CPA, you are qualified to join an entry level job as a tax accountant. You may have to start out working for a small business or local tax office while you gather the experience for joining a large firm.

Most CPAs are opening their own independent tax shops. With the availability of the Internet, they have at their disposal, instant messaging service, rapid informational avenues and an ability to extend their clientele beyond local parameters. Producers of accounting software recognize the value of the independent tax accountant, offering software that allows the CPA to file online based on number of files instead of an expensive licensing fee.

Some of the large, well-known tax consulting agencies have broken parts of their businesses into franchises. These franchises offer the opportunity for CPAs to run their own businesses while affiliated with the parent company, usually with a commitment of ten years. They are a small business opportunity, requiring a sense of entrepreneurship and a willingness to market yourself.

Expert tax accountants assure becoming your own boss isn’t too difficult, but it does take a certain amount of perseverance. They recommend gaining experience first by working for a larger firm. Initial investments for becoming an individual business are a stout computer, good tax software, a computer consultant and insurance. Before starting on your own, you will want to have money saved in advance to provide cash flow.

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